Likely, your worst nightmares and greatest dreams won’t come to fruition. So what can and can’t you expect from your experience working internationally?
The difficulties faced by the Forsters and Orwell’s of history when reporting Eastern cultures from Western perspectives are now faced by every Sue and Sam with a smartphone and social media platform. From Facebook to Instagram to travel blogs, expats have the power to portray their host country however they please, their choices of posts and pictures creating a patchwork narrative of the culture for those back home. Are expats in the modern era responsible for how they portray the countries they call home?
To objectively evaluate the professional development value of working internationally, I wanted to bring in an outside perspective. And to do that, I am bringing in CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes.
Holmes posted an article on LinkedIn titled “5 Signs You’re a Unicorn Employee,” which he used to describe his ideal employee.
I really like his five traits for a number of reasons, so I want to use them to help evaluate the value of working abroad. Namely, what types of traits can I expect the experience to instill in me and carry with me into the future.
Teaching English abroad is tricky business. Used correctly, it can be a great way to fund an on-the -ground job search in the country in which you want to live. Used incorrectly, and you can end up an English “lifer”– lulled by making enough money and having a good life, you forgo building professional value until it is too late, leaving you stuck teaching English forever.
The key is to use teaching English as a springboard to other opportunities abroad without falling into the trap of becoming a “lifer.” It isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first as long as you know a few things before you make the leap.
The stress that comes with living abroad also helps you feel alive, to be aware, to feel fulfilled and engaged in daily life. It forces you to you gawk at the goings-on around you, appreciate mundane tasks as something significant, and fills you with the sensation that what you are doing is unique. Which begs the question: is discomfort such a bad thing?
12hourdifference.co is still in its infancy and yet I have already had a chance to hear reader’s questions about working abroad via email, Whatsapp and Skype. I wanted to share my answer to a question I received last week regarding how to find positions abroad that I think probably applies to many people who are interested in working internationally.
Angie Hubert has spent the last two years in Singapore as a Talent Acquisition, Learning & Analytics Leader at IBM. We spoke about her story of moving abroad, how candidates can increase their appeal to international recruiters, as well as quell a few fears recent graduates might have about working abroad. This conversation has been edited for brevity.
Troy Erstling is the CEO of the international recruitment site BrainGain.co which currently has recruits placed in 20 different countries around the world. He knows the expat life well, having lived in Argentina, Korea, India, and Malaysia. We talk about what to expect when living abroad, tips for finding work abroad, what companies look for in an international candidate and some of the best countries to find work in.
Max Korpinen is a Finnish Human Resource Generalist currently working at a Virtual Reality hardware startup in Tokyo, Japan. Wearing many hats in his position, his focus in his current role includes domestic and international recruitment, employee engagement, and improving company culture. You can find Max on Twitter at @MaxKorpinen and on Linkedin at Max Korpinen.
Matt Benfield is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University and is currently working for DHL as a data analytics intern in Frankfurt, Germany. Matt is also a freelance writer, and his work can be found at his blog Everyday Pride as well as Huffington Post. The following is transcript of an interview with minor editing for brevity.